Turkish artillery commander Mustafa Ertuğrul Aker, who is credited with the sinking of the first seaplane carrier
This was exactly the fate of a French patrol boat, the Alexandra, which sank on March 8th, 1918, thanks to an ingenious plan by the Turkish artillery officer Mustafa Ertuğrul Aker, who is credited with the sinking of the first seaplane carrier, the HMS Ben-My-Chree and PARIS II . After sinking the seaplane carrier , the coastal batteries were moved to Kemer at a distance of 148 km from Kaş towards Antalya (the distance between Kemer and Antalya is 36 km)
The tale of those two ships sunk during World War 1, is very interesting and remained obscure for almost a century. The two French patrol boats, Alexandra and Paris II met their fate close to the coast of Kemer in Turkey, when the Turks were fighting on the side of Germany during WW1 and France was part of the Entente Cordiale, along with the British and the Greeks.
“Paris II was a French patrol ship, sunk on December 13th 1917 by artillery fire. 17 crew were taken prisoner. The wreck was discovered at a depth of 30 metres in 1995 and positively identified, thanks to the name “Paris”, which is still visible to this day.
Before WW1 Paris II was built as a trawler and was later converted into a patrol boat. The length of the boat was 65 metres and its width was 14 metres.”
Kemer, the seaside Turkish city between Kas and Antalya, where Paris II and Alexandra were sunk
Paris II was one of the few ships to be honoured with the Cross of War and all of her Officers and crew were also honoured with the fourragère, a military award, distinguishing military units as a whole, in the form of a braided cord.
The batteries of howitzers and mountain guns were situated in open ground on the top of a hill, 3 km to the south of the town.
They had a direct view 4.4 km southwest into the mouth of the harbour of Kemer.
The Turkish guns commanded by Mustafa Ertuğrul Aker opened fire, hitting Paris II and sank her at a depth of approximately 30 metres in the Gulf of Avala.
“After the ship began to sink, 25 Turkish soldiers under the command of Mustafa Ertuğrul Aker came to the help of the French sailors and saved their lives by taking them ashore.
They shared their dry clothes
and their food, which was sparse because of the war conditions and treated the
French sailors as their guests.
The French sailors, who were far away from home and were going through one of the most difficult experiences of their lives, were highly moved by this gesture.
The young lieutenant Mustafa Ertuğrul based his principles on universal human values and became very good friends with the captain of the French ship.Ronnin.
The French captain Ronnin gave his dog to the Turkish lieutenant as a keepsake of their friendship and returned to his country. He would go on to report his experience to his superiors and spoke with praise about this Turkish lieutenant. This story of Paris II was verified by fairly recent documented evidence.”
The French Naval Forces official report regarding the sinking of Paris II and the treatment of the Prisoners of War states: “On doit reconnaître ici la haute courtoisie et la humanité parfaite avec lesquelles les Turcs les accueillirent.. ” (Here, we must acknowledge the courtesy and the humane way, with which the Turcs welcomed them…)